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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 32 : General Provisions Applicable to all Cases of Process

Paragraph 13 : On the Examination of Witnesses

32-13. In order that the trial may be fair and impartial, the witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend. Witnesses may be cross-examined by both parties, and any questions asked must be pertinent to the issue.

[DIGEST : The current PCA text remains unchanged from that of PCA 1973 and the Proposed Book of Church Order (1973). Minor differences distinguish these texts from the earlier PCUS editions, with the PCA texts inserting "must" in place of "which" in the final clause. It is notable that all of these editions retain a recognizable similarity with the earliest PCUSA text of 1789.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
PCA 1973, RoD, 6-13, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 148
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 6-13, Proposed text, p. 45
In order that the trial may be fair and impartial, the witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend. Witnesses may be cross-examined by both parties, and any questions asked must be pertinent to the issue.

1. PCUS 1933, VI-§205
2. PCUS 1925, VI-§205
3. PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, VI-13

In order that the trial may be fair and impartial, the witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend. Witnesses may be cross-examined by both parties, and any questions asked which are pertinent to the issue.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-14
In order that the trial may be fair and impartial, the witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend. Witnesses may be cross-examined by both parties, and any questions asked which are pertinent to the issue tried.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-14
In order that the trial may be fair and impartial, the witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend. Witnesses may be cross-examined by both parties, and any questions asked which are pertinent to the issue tried.

PCUSA 1858, Revised Book of Discipline, Chapter IV - Actual Process, paragraph 7

The trial shall be fair and impartial. The witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend; and he shall be permitted to cross-examine them, and to ask any questions tending to his own exculpation.

PCUSA 1789, Forms of Process in the Judicatories of this Church, Chapter 1, paragraph 9
The trial shall be open, fair, and impartial. The witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused ; or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend : and he shall be permitted to ask any questions tending to his own exculpation.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 200), on RoD, VI-13:

184.--XIII. In order that the trial may be fair and impartial, the witnesses shall be examined in the presence of the accused, or at least after he shall have received due citation to attend. Witnesses may be cross-examined by both parties, and any questions asked which are pertinent to the issue.
The prosecutor, too, must be present. Whether a question is pertinent the court must determine (but see 210) in case of dispute concerning its pertinency. Members of the court also may ask questions.



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